Saturday, August 6, 2022

"M" Is For...

 Visit #1379, Saturday 6 August 22, 6:25-10:15AM, 5.8 miles, 6.2 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the 70s, climbing into the 90s, sunny with very high humidity.

"M" is for morning, very early in the morning. As early as I started my hike there was no avoiding the warm temps and the humidity. Interestingly enough, the National Weather Service's Heat Index chart does not consider temps below 80, combined with any humidity level,  to be of concern. So I'm not permitted to complain. Today's humidity was in the 70% range which put the Heat Index into the "Extreme Caution" range.

"M" is for the malcontent whose graffiti I kept finding today. Fortunately, said malcontent used chalk. I was able to remove most of it with a scrub brush. Rain, if we ever get any, will do the rest.

"M" is for mountains or what passes for mountains in Hubbard Park, such as the cliffs high near East Peak.

"M" is for molting (or shedding), which is what this snake did with its skin.

"M" stands for Merimere Reservoir and the alligator within that keeps growing as the drought continues.

"M" is for more roadside trimming as I continue to make my way up the road to East/West Peak.

After an hour of roadside trimming jazz, I collapsed the saw and walked up the road to Castle Craig, continuing to pick up litter.

"M" is for a mystery: Why did someone wrap electrical tape around this tree?

And the mysteries continue: This is the 21st Colorado'd tree I've found in Hubbard Park. The last one was found a little more than a year ago. I used the saw portion of my pole saw to remove it. Neither ideal nor most efficient, it did the job.

"M" repeats for Merimere Reservoir, which I passed by as I left the trails.

"M" is for more: I found more of the malcontent's graffiti as I returned to the park. I was able to completely remove it with the assistance of GooGone.

"M" is for man, was I soaked with sweat as I neared the end of my hike, from my shirt down through my belt and pants.

And finally, "M" stands for well, "M"! In case you've wondered how I track my progress trimming the roadsides to East/West Peak; I mark the road with a letter where I finish, so I know where to begin at the next session. I chose letters instead of numbers so people wouldn't try to interpret any number as some sort of distance marker. As of this week, I'm up to the letter "M".

Sunday, July 31, 2022



Although seasonably warm, it was much more comfortable than last week's humidity. The view south toward Sleeping Giant was an early morning treat.

Visit #1378, Saturday 30 July 22, 7:00-9:55AM, 5.4 miles, 14.4 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the low to mid-70s with mild humidity, sunny.

On my walk around Merimere Reservoir this morning I continue to find the alligator growing as the local drought continues.

The reservoir's waters were calm. Nice cloud reflection off the surface.

Up at West Peak I cleaned up the parking lot and local trails. Unfortunately, I found a vandalized Blue Trail marker.

On the trail down, I found a dog harness hanging on a tree. I called the phone number on the rabies vaccination tag and asked the firm to contact the owner, if they wanted the harness/tag back. Haven't heard anything yet.

Reaching the walkbridge over I-691 I found some new graffiti, which I was able to remove.

This other graffiti I found will require a special trip, which I figure will be in two week's time. Looks like the same tag as the grease pencil above, except in spray paint.

The trail back to the park was shady and cool.

Cleaning up the dirt parking area in the corner of Mirror Lake, I found this stuffed toy. I wonder if I can catch monkey pox from it?At least I THOUGHT it looked like a monkey. Then I realized monkeys aren't purple, so I'm pretty sure I'm safe.

My Find of the Week were these rags I found at various locations today. I'm running out of old t-shirts to cut up for my various projects, and I was getting close to walking around bare-chested; something you wouldn't want to see in your scariest nightmares! 

A couple of the rags were microfiber; good for car waxing. I'll toss 'em in the wash then add them to my stash.

Sunday, July 24, 2022



There was no avoiding the heat and humidity of the current heatwave regardless of how early I started my hike.

Visit #1377, Saturday 23 July 22, 6:15-9:30AM, 5.2 miles, 4.7 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the 70s, rising to the 90s with very high humidity.

I wanted to start very early to avoid as much of the heat and humidity as possible and for sheepish, macho bragging rights, but I missed my goal by 15 minutes. 6:15AM; that's for late risers!

But early morning starts to reveal some interesting things, such as explaining some of the trash spread around Hubbard Park. It's an All You Can Eat Buffet for these guys. Every trash can in the park I spied had litter furry diners.

As the drought continues, more of the Merimere Alligator continues to be revealed, while a duck rests on his back.

This was a week for more roadside trimming, and fortunately the tree canopy on the road helped keep the temperature down.

While trimming, I made sure to avoid the hornets' nest I nearly bumped into two weeks ago.

After an hour of trimming, I returned to the trails and back to the park and continued to enjoy the benefits of the shade.

By finishing early, I was able to avoid missing the penultimate stage of the Tour de France.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Beat The Heat


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Climate Hub Drought chart, half of Connecticut is experiencing moderate drought conditions, the other half slightly less severe. You can see the drop in the waterline of Merimere Reservoir on the back of the "alligator" in the water.

Visit #1376, Saturday 16 July 22, 7:30-10:30AM, 5.1 miles, 5.8 lbs. of litter. Temps in the 70s to low 80s with rising humidity, mostly cloudy.

I took advantage of the dry weather to hike to the north end of the reservoir and clean up the litter tossed into the spillways. Here's a look from within one spillway back toward the reservoir.

While cleaning up I found this BRAND NEW Timberland work boot.

The trail was being protected by a Guard Toad. I paid my due respects to the king and was allowed to pass.

The main objective of today's hike was to use my chainsaw to remove a fallen tree from the Green Trail very near to the south end of the reservoir (and the beginning of my hike), but I had chosen to get there by hiking the Blue Trail beginning at the north end.

Good thing I did; hiking this section of the Blue Trail, which I seldom do, I discovered another fallen tree, which made carrying the chainsaw the extra distance worth the time and effort.

Conditions higher up were much more pleasant; cooler and breezier which offset the rising humidity.

Hiking down the Orange Trail below Castle Craig, I noticed all the dead weeds on the trailside. They were all either thorns or rasberry bushes; I can't tell the difference because I'm not a plant-guy. It almost looks as if someone sprayed them with weed killer; nothing else was touched.

Once back down below Castle Craig, I arrived at the fallen tree on the Green Trail. Merimere Reservoir can't be seen in the background due to the haze of the rising humidity. It was a sweaty hiking day fer sure!

This week's forecast is for mid-summer high heat and humidity and the drought conditions will continue with maybe some thunderstorms for relief. Hike early in the day for the most comfortable conditions.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Hazards of the Job


The least hazardous thing that happened to me Sunday; enjoying the view of Merimere Reservoir.

Visit #1375, Sunday 10 July 22, 6:50-10:45AM, 5.4 miles, 4.8 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the mid-60s, pleasantly dry and sunny. Where's the heat and humidity?

Just another week trimming the roadside to East/West Peak. What could possibly go wrong?

I picked up where I left off last time, near the sharp bend at the bottom of the hill. I felt I made good progress distance-wise, of a few hundred feet.

My allotted hour for trimming was in its final minute. One last group of saplings and I'm done.

There's this pesky fly buzzing around my head and he won't go away. So I swat at him.

Mistake. T'wasn't a pesky fly; it was a hornets' nest and my head was a mere foot or two away from it, hidden in that group of saplings!

I moved faster than a colonoscopy prep and yes; I got stung.

See if you can spot the nest in the photo. I sure know where it is NOW!

Fortunately I was able to laugh that off and continue on.

Back down on the Green Trail, I found a newly fallen hemlock tree. That means next week will be a thrill-packed Power Tool Weekend®. I should heal by then.